By Amara Christa – 11th May, 2020
- Demolition of hotels by governor Wike is in direct contravention of the Constitution
Civil Rights Council of Nigeria utterly condemns the demolition of Prudent Hotel and Etemeteh Hotel in Rivers State by Gov. Wike. The demolition is in direct contravention of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria and all the laws that protect the fundamental human rights and the democratic principles that Nigeria upholds.
According to Gov. Wike, the demolition was to enforce Executive Order No. 6 which banned the operation of hotels in Rivers State and stipulated demolition as the penalty for disobedience. This Executive Order is void under Nigerian Law for several reasons.
- No governor has the powers to make any order infringing human rights. Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria vested on the National Assembly the power to make laws. However by the provision of Section 5 and 315 of the Constitution, a state governor can pass an executive order subject to the provision of the Constitution. This means that an executive order is invalid if it directs the performance of any act that is in direct violation of any law or an Act of the National Assembly. The right to property is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution and can only be infringed in execution of the order of a properly constituted court established by law.
- Every person is entitled to fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and impartiality.
- No authority can impose a penalty except through the express provision of an Act or a Law that forms part of the laws of Nigeria. An Executive Order is not an Act, neither is it a Law that could be used to impose a penalty.
Gov. Wike signed an illegal order and through such order violated the fundamental right of the owners of the hotel without recourse to legal procedures. The Law, in a bid to protect Nigerians from draconian rulers, made comprehensive provisions to prevent the abuse of power and ensure proper check and balance. Governor Wike, however, is leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to abuse his office and violate the rights of citizens who have been made vulnerable by the pandemic. This is regrettable and the Civil Rights Council in Nigeria condemns the action of the governor.
Civil Rights Council thus calls on the governor to respect the fundamental human rights of Nigerians. The Constitution of Nigeria remains operational despite the pandemic and the governor should set an example by acting in accordance with the Law. The people of Rivers State need a leader who leads by example. If the governor requires the people to obey his orders, he should also obey the Constitution. Charity begins at home.
Civil Rights Council,Rivers State
Prince Wiro ,
Civil Rights Council, Rivers State
Legal Adviser Esq
Civil Rights Council,Nigeria
Arochukwu Paul Ogbonna Esq
Civil Rights Council,Nigeria